Should We Really Evaluate Colleges On Salary Expectations?

Career College Central summary:

  • According to a recent article in the New York Times, students are starting to rethink college. Not rethink in terms of deciding whether or not to go; they’re just now trying to evaluate potential institutions based on how much money they might make once they graduate.
  • Daniel Luzer of Washington Monthly quotes The New York Times: "PayScale this week released its latest rankings of colleges and universities. But its rankings are all about incomes and jobs. It ranks over a thousand institutions by the average earnings of their graduates. It also calculates and ranks the average return on investment for a college and the percentage of graduates holding jobs with “high meaning.” Some of those results may come as a shock, especially to graduates of some prestigious colleges. PayScale’s rankings are just one manifestation of a growing nationwide movement toward quantifying the outcomes of college education based on economic factors like income and employment.The Obama administration wants to rank colleges by tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and use the rankings to influence federal financial aid to students.
  • Luzer writes: " … salary doesn’t have much to do with where you go to school, and everything to do with what profession one enters after. The article explains that “Ivy League graduates do quite well… with Princeton ranked sixth and Harvard eighth in PayScale’s rankings based on ‘midcareer median salary.’” But that’s because Ivy League graduates tend to go into high earning professions once they graduate. If you go to Dartmouth and become a performance artist or an elementary school teacher you’re going to be just as poor as if you’d gone to Plymouth State or the University of Maine."
  • Luzer says one of the “absurd and potentially alarming conclusions” comes from state rankings. The top ranked first-year salary school in Virginia is something called the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. He continues "Is this school better than UVA or William and Mary? Of course not, it’s just a pre-professional school focusing on health sciences jobs, which tend to pay pretty well."

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